2. Construction of dual-effect scaffolding systems to tune local microenvironments for simultaneous disease treatment and tissue regeneration.

To treat diseases like liver cancer and tendon adhesion, we designed a series of drug-loaded scaffolds (e.g., microspheres, micro/nanofibers, surface coatings) to modulate local pathological microenvironments to simultaneously inhibit disease development and promote tissue regeneration. For example, we developed microenvironment-triggered drug release nanofibrous scaffolds for liver cancer treatment. Based on the acidic cancer microenvironment, we proposed the concept of "disease-triggered therapy", where cancer drug release is triggered by the cancer physiological microenvironments, to provide a customized clinical treatment. We were also invited by the prestigious journal Mater Today (2015, 18, 56) to publish a comment on this concept. We further developed biocompatible drug-loaded nanofibrous membranes to prevent tendon adhesion, elucidating the underlying pathological mechanisms. Based on the mechanism of tendon healing, we designed a micro-sol electrospinning technique to encapsulate mitomycin within hyaluronic acid particles to achieve controlled drug release. This successfully inhibited adhesion and promoted tendon regeneration by inducing fibroblast apoptosis via up-regulating Bax protein expression. We then addressed chronic inflammation caused by drug carrier degradation by incorporating enzyme-sensitive, ibuprofen-grafted polylactic acid (PLA) into the nanofibrous scaffolds. Ibuprofen was released following PLA degradation, thereby countering inflammation. These insights enable future work on constructing microenvironment-responsive drug delivery systems to simultaneously treat diseases and support tissue regeneration.


These projects generated publications in Biomaterials (2014, 35, 9920; 2015, 53, 202; 2016, 61, 61; 2016, 83, 169; 2; .2018.178, 1-10;) Small (2015, 11, 4284, journal cover, reported by MaterialsViews); Colloid Surface B (2015,130,1); Part Syst Char (2015, 3, 529), J Mater Chem B (2015, 3, 990; 2015, 3, 3436, 2015 hot paper), and 2 national patents.